With gloomy skies and chillier weather, we must face the reality that patio season has concluded in Atlanta. Time to shift the focus to indoor comforts. Whether you seek out the satisfaction of a cocktail, or comfort food, we found seven places to duck into, sink into a homey chair, and get cozy.
Bookhouse Pub easily could be a cabin retreat in the woods of the Northwest. That is precisely the “Twin Peaks” vibe the pub was going for when it was established. This is a hideout — windowless, dimly lit and wooden. Shelves lined with books wind around snug booths. The brightest area is the back bar, shimmering with an extensive spirits collection. Warm up with a bowl of chili or a heap of poutine brimming with cheese curds. Sip on Turtles to Coconuts, a stirred potion of Cognac, sweet vermouth and a house amaro blend. On Tuesdays, Bookhouse becomes a tiki oasis, with an array of tacos and tiki drinks in vessels you can take home.
736 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-254-1176, thebookhousepub.net.
Buckhead’s Atlas may be known as a top-notch culinary destination, but it offers more than the dining room. Just inside the heavy doors is a small, but plush, den. Glass shelves are filled with art, architecture and history tomes, and a marble fireplace glows. The luxe library is as fancy as the ice program and crystal–cut glassware for a craft cocktail menu that riffs on the classics. Sit here for a while, or move to the second lounge, treated in walnut and brass, with glass cases filled with treat-yourself spirits that are slightly out of price range. While there, tour the art-filled dining room, which houses paintings worth millions of dollars.
88 W. Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta. 404-600-6471, atlasrestaurant.com.
New on the scene from Victory Brands (Victory Sandwich Bar, Little Trouble, S.O.S Tiki Bar), Lloyd’s is your Midwestern grandpa’s neighborhood tavern. Named for the bartender in the cult flick “The Shining,” it has similar ’70s-era sensibilities. The classic dive interior has walls of knotty pine, dangling retro stained glass lamps, and diamond-shaped windows like your parents’ shagging wagon that may have been painted with a desert scene. The menu of diner/bar food leaves you sated, with fried bologna sandwiches, spinach and artichoke dip with potato chips, and all-you-can-eat mashed potatoes. There is no set bar menu, but if you order a Harvey Wallbanger, you will get an expert version. Hole up at happy hour when martinis, Manhattans and vespers are $5.
900 DeKalb Ave., Atlanta. 404-228-7227, lloydsatl.com.
Stepping from Decatur Square into Mac McGee’s is akin to stumbling into a pub in a town like Dingle, Ireland. Stained glass windows filter the outside world; regulars are perched atop bar stools, sipping pints with platters of fish and chips or having a wee dram with a Scotch egg. Sumptuous dark mahogany is surrounded by antiques from Ireland in all the snug spaces. The 500-plus whiskey list helps with hibernation. Discover the usual Islays or Kentucky bourbon, but also uncover lesser known sips from Australia, Wales or Michigan.
111 Sycamore St., Decatur. 404-377-8055, macmcgees.com.
Another newbie, Ink, is attached to 8Arm, but is a completely different experience than the restaurant and outside bar. Capped at 20 people, and dark as night, Ink is a recluse’s dream. The ambiance is candlelit, with avant-garde jazz coming from a record player. Bartenders mix drinks customized to order. Did you select a guiding word for 2019? This is the place to use it. Bartenders are up for the challenge of bringing a feeling like “nurture” to cocktail life. Along with tinned and jarred foods, Ink has gongfu tea service. The ritualized Chinese tea service means, “enjoying every drop.” With precision and consistency, high-quality teas are rinsed, brewed and poured into tiny cups in a mindful and wholly satisfying manner.
710 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 470-875-5856, 8armatl.com/ink.
Ration and Dram
Tucked away from the fray, Ration and Dram is a mod hideout, as quaint as it is sleek. Drinkmaster Andy Minchow’s Chester Copperpot is a favorite among regulars; the cocktail holds Plantation pineapple rum, crème de noyaux and bitters. The thoughtful bar menu features food that satisfies nostalgic yearnings, such as rich bowls of chicken and dumplings, and French onion soup with crisp Gruyere toast. Settle in by filling out a library card of charcuterie and cheese board choices.
130 Arizona Ave. NE, Atlanta. 678-974-8380, rationanddram.com.
Muss & Turner’s
To really get away from it all, there is nothing better than a speakeasy. You can overwinter within Muss & Turner’s, at hidden gem Eleanor’s. Walk toward the back of the restaurant to what looks like a walk-in cooler. Open the door and amble down a passage that opens up to tiny but plush surroundings, with subdued lighting. It feels clannish, with dark wood, metal latticework, leather and steampunk hightops. Stay for a bit with a charcuterie board, El’s popcorn, or a bucket of fries with lots of dipping sauces. Think of springtime while sipping a Honey Bee, with gin, toasted coriander, honey shrub and lemon juice.
1675 Cumberland Parkway, Smyrna. 770-434-1114, mussandturners.com.